Eduardo J Fernandez

Eduardo J Fernandez
University of Adelaide · School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

PhD

About

61
Publications
36,475
Reads
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655
Citations
Introduction
I received my Ph.D. in Psychology (minors in Neuroscience and Animal Behavior) from Indiana University and my M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. Much of my past and current research involves the behavioral training and welfare of zoo, aquarium, and companion animals. I am currently a Senior Lecturer of Applied Animal Behaviour & Welfare in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide (Australia).
Additional affiliations
September 2018 - August 2020
Florida Institute of Technology
Position
  • Professor
September 2014 - August 2018
Trinity Lutheran College
Position
  • Professor
September 2008 - August 2014
University of Washington Seattle
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
September 2003 - May 2008
Indiana University Bloomington
Field of study
  • Psychology
September 2000 - May 2003
University of North Texas
Field of study
  • Behavior Analysis
September 1996 - May 2000
University of Florida
Field of study
  • Psychology and Sociology

Publications

Publications (61)
Article
Full-text available
Animal welfare, education, conservation, research, and entertainment are major goals of modern zoos, but they can be in conflict. For example, visitors enjoy learning about and observing natural behavior in captive animals, but visitors often want to observe and interact with the animals in close proximity. Unfortunately, proximity to and social in...
Article
Full-text available
Zoos focus on welfare, conservation, education, and research related to animals they keep. Academic institutions emphasize description, experimentation, modeling, and teaching of general and specific animal biology and behavior through work in both laboratory and field. The considerable overlap in concerns and methods has increased interest in coll...
Article
Full-text available
Zoo animals serve an important function in helping educate the public about their conservation needs. Despite this important function, little is understood about how visitors perceive different zoo exhibits and the animals that reside within them. In the present study, the behaviors displayed by two jaguars located at the Woodland Park Zoo were cor...
Article
Full-text available
This study was conducted to determine the efficacy of a multi-step, positive-reinforcement training protocol, involving a remote-controlled food reward dispenser, for treatment of excessive barking, jumping, and crowding of the door by dogs when people come to the door. In Experiment 1, we tested the multi-step protocol in a laboratory setting to d...
Article
Full-text available
A study selected 5 cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) located at the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, Texas, for a food preference assessment. The study used a paired-choice procedure across 7 different food items for all 5 tamarins. Preferences for the food items across all the tamarins varied, although general trends were noted as well. This ar...
Article
Play is a common behavior, often exhibited within human-cat dyads. Play is a behavior that may have numerous benefits to both cat and human, including within the realms of social cooperation and inter-species communication. However, little is known about human-cat play and foundational information is needed. The current study aimed to investigate t...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioural research requires the use of sampling methods to document the occurrence of responses observed. Sampling/recording methods include ad libitum, continuous, pinpoint (instantaneous), and one-zero (interval) sampling. Researchers have questioned the utility of each sampling method under different contexts. Our study compared computerized s...
Article
Husbandry training and environmental enrichment are both important advancements associated with current behavioural welfare practices. Additionally, the use of training procedures has been proposed as a form of enrichment, with the implication that training can produce beneficial behavioural welfare results. This paper examines the concept of train...
Article
Full-text available
Enclosure use assessments have gained popularity as one of the tools for animal welfare assessments and Post Occupancy Evaluations. There are now a plethora of studies and enclosure use indices available in published literature, and identification of the most appropriate index for each research question is often challenging. The benefits and limita...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This workshop is focused on the design of novel kinds of environmental enrichment for zoo-housed reptiles, using technology to support the development of interactive systems and devices for capturing data. Participants will work virtually in small groups to ideate, reflect on and develop concepts, using a ZooJam approach, which is similar to a game...
Article
Full-text available
Animal-Visitor Interactions (AVI) within zoos and aquariums have become an increasingly studied topic. Influenced by both the broader field of Human-Animal Interactions (HAI), as well as visitor studies conducted in museums, AVI studies can be separated into two areas of focus: (1) Visitor effects, or the impact visitors have on the animals housed...
Article
Full-text available
Animal-Visitor Interactions (AVIs) have become commonplace in zoological institutions and facilities globally. However, most AVI research focuses on the effects of visitors on the welfare of animals, with considerably fewer studies examining the visitor experience itself. Furthermore, robust evaluations of the efficacy of zoo education programs and...
Article
Full-text available
The modern zoo has been associated with two major behavioral welfare advances: (a) the use of training to increase voluntary husbandry care, and (b) the implementation of environmental enrichment to promote naturalistic behaviors. Both practices have their roots in behavior analysis, or the operant conditioning-centered, reward-based approach to be...
Article
Full-text available
Article printed in an Applied Animal Behavior special issue of Operants, the publication of the B. F. Skinner Foundation, Fall, 2021. I was the Associate Editor of the special issue. Reference is as follows: Fernandez, E. J. (2021). Behavior analysis and the shaping of the modern zoo. Operants, 9(2-3), 14-16.
Preprint
Full-text available
The modern zoo has been associated with two major behavioral welfare advances: (a) the use of training to increase voluntary husbandry care, and (b) the implementation of environmental enrichment to promote naturalistic behaviors. Both practices have their roots in behavior analysis, or the operant conditioning-centered, reward-based approach to be...
Preprint
Full-text available
This workshop is focused on the design of novel kinds of environmental enrichment for zoo-housed reptiles, using technology to support the development of interactive systems and devices for capturing data. Participants will work virtually in small groups to ideate, reflect on and develop concepts, using a ZooJam approach, which is similar to a game...
Data
Video of the live trout feeding for the Humboldt penguins at Woodland Park Zoo. This is part of the study for following reference: Fernandez, E. J., Myers, M., & Hawkes, N. C. (2021). The Effects of Live Feeding on Swimming Activity and Exhibit Use in Zoo Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti). Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens, 2(1),...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animal-Visitor Interactions (AVIs) have become commonplace in zoological institutions and facilities globally. However, most AVI research focuses on the effects of visitors on the welfare of animals, with considerably less studies examining the visitor experience itself. Furthermore, robust evaluations of the efficacy of zoo education programs and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Enclosure use assessments have gained popularity as one of the tools for animal welfare assessments and Post Occupancy Evaluations. There are now a plethora of studies and enclosure use indices available in published literature, and identification of the most appropriate index for each research question is often challenging. The benefits and limita...
Preprint
Full-text available
Husbandry training and environmental enrichment are both important advancements associated with current behavioral welfare practices. Additionally, the use of training procedures has been proposed as a form of enrichment, with the implication that training can produce beneficial behavioral welfare results. This paper examines the concept of trainin...
Article
Full-text available
The past few decades have seen increased interest in studies examining the welfare of elephants and animal–visitor interactions. One understudied area for both pursuits is the impact of public feeding interactions. Our study examined the effects of public feedings on the general activity of three zoo-housed elephants. Prior to public feedings, we d...
Article
Full-text available
African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are a popularly exhibited zoo animal, frequently housed in groups to represent their natural packs in the wild. While such group housing is common, the effects of changes to that group are seldom directly investigated. This study examined the enclosure use of three African wild dog siblings located at the Woodland...
Article
Full-text available
Penguins are considered among the most popular animals for zoo and aquarium visitors to observe. Swimming is considered a desirable activity, both for the visitor experience and the welfare of the penguins. However, little is known about the amount of time exhibited penguins spend swimming, or how such swimming is related to regular feeding events....
Article
Stereotypies in captive animals have been defined as repetitive, largely invariant patterns of behavior that serve no obvious goal or function. Stereotypies are commonly attributed to boredom or stress and are typically treated by enriching captivity with distracting, appealing stimuli. These stimuli often include food presented at times other than...
Article
Full-text available
Captive grizzly bears, like their wild counterparts, engage in considerable variability in their seasonal and daily activity. We documented the year-long activity of two grizzly bears located at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. We found that behaviors emerged in relation to month-to-month, seasonal, and time of day (hour-to-hour) obser...
Article
Full-text available
The re-release of golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia), from zoos into the wild, is considered to be an ex situ conservation success story. However, zoo-born golden lion tamarins have lower survival rates than their wild-born offspring, potentially due to deficient foraging and locomotion ‘survival skills’ acquired in captivity. The curren...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined two procedures for establishing halter behavior (i.e., acceptance of wearing and being led via a halter) and decreasing undesired behavior in three petting zoo goats: a fixed-time 15-s (FT-15-s) schedule and shaping involving a clicker. The FT schedule was successful in training initial approximations, but over a longer period f...
Article
Full-text available
Shaping through differential reinforcement of successive approximations to a target response has been a cornerstone procedure for the training of novel behavior. However, much of how it has traditionally been implemented occurs through informal observation, rather than any direct, systematic measurement. In the present study, we examine the use of...
Article
Full-text available
In the wild, hippopotamuses spend much of their daily activity in the water. In zoos, it is less clear the extent to which hippos spend time in the water. We examined how much time Woodland Park Zoo’s three hippos spent in their outdoor pool, based on: (a) temperature of the pool water, and (b) when the pool water was changed (approximately three t...
Article
Full-text available
Published in the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) Journal, May 1st, 2020: https://summer2020.iaabcjournal.org/saving-time-in-zoos-through-behavior-investment/
Article
Full-text available
Shaping through differential reinforcement of successive approximations to a target response has been a cornerstone procedure for the training of novel behavior. However, much of how it has traditionally been implemented occurs through informal observation, rather than any direct, systematic measurement. In the following study, an African crested p...
Article
Full-text available
The modern zoo has brought about two major advances in the behavioral welfare of their exhibited animals: (a) The use of environmental enrichment to promote naturalistic behaviors and (b) the use of training to improve voluntary husbandry care. Whereas training itself has been talked about as an effective enrichment strategy, little has been done t...
Article
Full-text available
AZA Conservation Education Committee Newsletter, 13(2), 14-15.
Article
Full-text available
Environmental enrichment has become a standard tool for improving the welfare of animals in zoos. Two critical steps in the manipulation of environmental enrichment are (1) selection of objects/procedures and (2) evaluation of their effects. In this study, we examined the selection and evaluation of feeding enrichment for four species of lemur. Exp...
Article
Full-text available
Modern zoos strive to educate visitors about zoo animals and their wild counterparts' conservation needs while fostering appreciation for wildlife in general. This research review examines how zoos influence those who visit them. Much of the research to-date examines zoo visitors' behaviors and perceptions in relation to specific exhibits, animals,...
Poster
Full-text available
Studies on enrichment effects have become commonplace. However, few studies have assessed any overall trends in enrichment practices. Previous meta-analyses were limited to the effects of enrichment on specific behaviors, taxa, or settings. Here, we conduct a meta-analysis of enrichment including multiple behaviors, taxa, and settings. We analyzed...
Poster
Full-text available
Over the past several decades, zoos have focused more directly on the welfare of their animal residents. The use of naturalistic enclosures, environmental enrichment, changes in the ways food is presented, and the use of operant conditioning practices are just a few examples of the attempts aimed at enhancing the well-being of zoo animals. This foc...
Presentation
Full-text available
The use of Behavior Analysis within the animal training and welfare community has become commonplace. While the core principles of Behavior Analysis (i.e., a focus on reinforcement contingencies and functional understandings of behavior) are now frequently used for applied animal behavior purposes, it’s not always clear how this is directly applied...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Over the past several decades, zoos have focused more directly on the welfare of their exhibited species. The use of “naturalistic” enclosures, environmental enrichment, changes in the ways food is presented, and the use of training procedures are just a few examples of the attempts aimed at increasing the well-being of captive animals. This focus...
Presentation
Full-text available
Paper presented at the University of British Columbia’s Animal Welfare Seminar, Vancouver, BC (Canada).
Presentation
Full-text available
Paper presented at The Ethics of Creating Motivation in Animal Training Symposium, Lund, SE (Sweden).
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the most tedious aspects of the behavior consult is the record write-up. The ideal write-up should be detailed enough to serve as a legal document and to provide the information the client needs. It should be concise and organized well enough to allow you to quickly obtain an overview of the pet’s progress as well as factors, such as owner t...
Presentation
Full-text available
Zoos have multiple functions, one of which is educating/entertaining visitors that come to the zoo. This plays an important role for other zoo functions; by educating and entertaining zoo visitors, they are more likely to gain support for their conservation efforts. In addition, visitors contribute money directly to the zoo, which helps the zoo car...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster presented at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting, Houston, TX.
Presentation
Full-text available
The Humboldt penguin exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo currently houses 20+ individuals. Once a week (Fridays, 11 am) during the spring/summer, live trout are dumped into the exhibit for the penguins. We examined the result of this live feeding on the overall swimming activity of the group as a whole. Of primary interest is how the live feeds effect...
Book
Full-text available
Behavioral stereotypies in captive animals have been defined as repetitive, largely invariant patterns of behavior that serve no obvious goal or function (Mason, 1991a; Ödberg, 1978). Stereotypies are commonly attributed to boredom or fear, and are typically “treated” by enriching captivity with distracting, appealing stimuli. These stimuli often i...
Research
Dissertation publication. It is available in book form: Fernandez, E. J. (2010). Stereotypies and Foraging: Appetitive Search Behaviors and Stereotypies in Captive Animals. VDM Publishing. ISBN-10: 3639252098 ISBN-13: 978-3639252095 (available on Amazon.com). File also available to view or download for free under my profile 'Book' section: http://d...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Stereotypies have been described as repetitive, invariant behavior patterns with no obvious goal or function. One species, polar bears, have been noted to engage in a high frequency of movement-based stereotypic behaviors in captivity. While much has been done to deter such stereotypic behaviors in polar bears (predominantly through the use of enri...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster presented at the Indiana University Undergraduate Research Conference, Indianapolis, IN.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The modern zoo has brought about two major advances in the behavioral welfare of their exhibited animals: (a) The use of environmental enrichment to promote naturalistic behaviors and (b) the use of training to improve voluntary husbandry care. Whereas training itself has been talked about as an effective enrichment strategy, little has been done t...
Thesis
Full-text available
Mode of access: Internet, via World Wide Web. System requirements: Adobe Acrobat Reader. Title from title page display. Thesis (M.S.)--University of North Texas, May, 2003. Includes bibliographical references.
Article
Full-text available
Citation: Fernandez, E. J. (2001). Click or Treat: A Trick or Two in the Zoo. American Animal Trainer Magazine, 2, 41-44. Available in both English in Spanish. Click on the public file for the different versions.
Article
Full-text available
Citation: Fernandez, E. J. (2001). ORCA: A New Kind of Lab. The Clicker Journal, 51, 18-23. Available in both English and Spanish. Click on the public files available for the different versions.
Article
Full-text available
Citation: Fernandez, E. J. (2000). Introducing ORCA (Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals). American Animal Trainer Magazine, 1, 38-39

Questions

Questions (5)
Question
Dear Colleagues,
Please see the following link and information for more details. If you are thinking about submitting, please feel free to reach out to me directly here or at edjfern@gmail.com.
The modern field of Applied Animal Behavior has brought about two major advances in the behavioral welfare of animals: (1) The use of environmental/behavioral enrichment, and (2) the implementation of voluntary training procedures to improve human-animal interactions. Both these practices have their roots in behavior analysis and learning theory. However, few studies have examined the learning effects observed in the application of these practices. For instance, most implementations of operant conditioning to the training of animals is done without measurement of the learning process. Likewise, the effects of enrichment, while originally proposed as a form of behavioral engineering to modify learned behavior, is almost exclusively measured in terms of its pre- vs. post-enrichment effect. Both modern advances thus miss a significant result of their implementation: How behavior is shaped by these environmental manipulations.
The following special issue looks to address how learning theory has been applied and measured to address the welfare of animals. Original manuscripts that examine any aspect of how learning theory has been applied to improve the lives of animals, from studies of behavioral training procedures to the modification of behavior as a result of some environmental change, are welcome submissions. Specific interest will be given to papers that use within-subject methodology to measure changes in behavior over time, as well as papers that address how behavior analysis has served the welfare of animals and can better contribute to the field.
Dr. Eduardo J. Fernandez Ms. Sabrina Brando Guest Editors
Question
Here's a question that extends beyond applied animal behavior researchers, with hopefully a few researchers or even librarians with expertise in massive article searches that might be able to provide some help. The basics are this: We started a meta-analysis of enrichment about a decade ago:
The idea was to extend the three enrichment meta-analyses that looked at what effect enrichment had on stereotypic behavior in zoo animals (Shyne, 2006; Swaisgood & Shepherdson, 2005; Swaisgood & Shepherdson, 2006) to more than just stereotypies and in more settings than zoos. We were looking at the effects of enrichment on all different behaviors (e.g., foraging, inactivity, social) as well as across numerous species and in zoos, shelters, farms, stables, labs, etc. At the start of this project (2010), we managed to find 12,000 articles that were limited to 150 papers mainly by using the Google Scholar "OR" function (i.e., enrichment OR stereotypy OR welfare OR behavior...), and then limiting it to (a) peer-reviewed publications that (b) did some type of enrichment to baseline independent variable manipulation, and (c) measured at least one type of behavioral effect.
The difficulty we have run into is this: Google Scholar only allows any query to produce 1000 searches. And there have been a lot more studies done since 2010, with anywhere from 23,000 to 50k+, depending on how we exclude terms. We can search by year for each, but that is less effective. And, we could include other search engines, like Web of Science, to produce more accurate results. I just feel like we're going about this in a less optimal way if we start limiting searches by year. So that is essentially it:
What is the most optimal way to produce a large meta-analytic search on peer-reviewed publications that have examined the effects of environmental/behavioral enrichment on (a) any kind of behavior (b) in any setting?
It has to be at least partially experimental since we require a non-enriched baseline measure for comparison. Other than that, we would like to find all the papers we can, probably in the range of 250 - 500, and then start doing our meta-analysis on what those papers have to say about enrichment used with different species/taxa, different types of enrichment, different settings, and so on. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
References:
Shyne (2006). Meta‐analytic review of the effects of enrichment on stereotypic behavior in zoo mammals. Zoo Biol, 25(4), 317-337.
Swaisgood, R. R., & Shepherdson, D. J. (2005). Scientific approaches to enrichment and stereotypies in zoo animals: what's been done and where should we go next?. Zoo Biol, 24(6), 499-518.
Swaisgood, R., & Shepherdson, D. (2006). Environmental enrichment as a strategy for mitigating stereotypies in zoo animals: a literature review and meta-analysis. Stereotypic Animal Behaviour: Fundamentals and Applications to Welfare. CABI, 256-285.
Question
I thought it might be nice to add recent references to this project (Wellness and Animal Welfare), since one of the goals seems to be increasing general knowledge of animal wellness/well-being. I'd be happy to include some of my own, as well as other recent references from zoo researchers and the like.
If we were to add references, what's the best way to go about adding them here? You can add files directly to questions/answers, and that's at least partially helpful. Any better ways to add suggestions?
Question
I'm interested in starting a discussion about using animal training for husbandry and other purposes as a form of enrichment itself. Many authors have proposed the idea (Desmond & Laule; Melfi, etc.), but I'm particularly interested in experimental examinations of this phenomenon. If training can function as a form of enrichment, what welfare benefits would we expect to see? Reduced stereotypies? Increased general activity? Time spent foraging? Increased non-aberrant social behaviors? What about species differences? And possibly most important, if training is enriching, what about it is responsible for that effect? I can think of at least several potential causal factors: (a) social interactions with the trainer(s), (b) extra feeding/foraging opportunities, and (c) increased activity (depending on what behavior(s) are being trained). Are there any other causal variables that might be responsible for this effect, if there is such an effect? 
Question
The main purpose of the document is to provide students interested in applied animal behavior research a tool for finding graduate programs that they might be interested in, as well as giving faculty and other persons a more systematic and comprehensive tool for advising students about their graduate school options. Categorical variables include: (a) university, (b) state/country, (c) department, (d) degrees, (e) people [i.e., potential mentors], (f) setting, and (g) research description. Please feel free to ask questions about this file and any of the categories listed, as well as suggesting new categories, potential changes to the document, and last but not least, any institutions/facilities you know of that are not currently listed in the document.

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